Milan started the year in the best way possible with a 2-0 win away at Benevento, despite playing with just ten men for a majority of the game. The unbeaten run is still intact, in other words, but the Rossoneri will face a very big test tomorrow as Juventus will travel to San Siro.
The Bianconeri haven’t had the best of starts to their season under new manager Andrea Pirlo, but they certainly can’t be ruled out just based on that. Milan are struggling with several key injuries and the pressure will be on them, with Inter just one point behind in the league standings.
Furthermore, the feeling is that Juventus need to win this game to show that they are indeed up for the Scudetto race. It’s a strange dynamic, no doubt, as we have become so used to the Turn side being the strongest. As things stand, though, they are ten points behind Milan in the standings and haven’t impressed.
As already mentioned, Stefano Pioli will be without Matteo Gabbia, Ismael Bennacer, Alexis Saelemaekers and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. All four are still injured and the latter is the closest to a return, but tomorrow’s game is just too early. Furthermore, Sandro Tonali will be serving a one-game suspension after the red card against Benevento.
Therefore, the starting XI will be pretty similar to the Pioli deployed last time out, with only a few minor changes. Theo Hernandez is back from suspension and will complete the back four along with Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer and captain Alessio Romagnoli. Important for Milan, as the Frenchman has been in red-hot form.
In the midfield tandem, Franck Kessie will partner up with Rade Krunic, who hasn’t been great at the start of this season. It’s a big chance for the Bosnian, therefore, to prove that he deserves to stay amid the transfer links. He caused a penalty against Benevento so he definitely needs to redeem himself.
There have been some doubts about the attacking trio, more specifically the right-wing, but it seems Pioli has decided to go with Samu Castillejo ahead of Brahim Diaz. The latter started against Benevento but was subbed off due to the red card, thus we didn’t get to see much of his qualities.
Rafael Leao will be the centre-forward and his task certainly won’t be easy, up against a strong Juventus defence. Hopefully, the lovely goal he scored against Benevento has boosted his confidence, as Milan sure do need their strikers to be in good form in big games like these.
As for Juventus, both Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado have tested positive for COVID-19 and will subsequently miss the game. It remains to be seen if there will be any more positives tomorrow, with test results yet to be revealed. In addition to them, Alvaro Morata is injured and will also miss out.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Krunic, Kessie; Castillejo, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Leao.
Probable Juventus XI (4-4-2): Szczesny; Demiral, Bonucci, De Ligt, Danilo; Chiesa, Bentancur, Rabiot, Ramsey; Dybala, Ronaldo.
- AC Milan and Juventus will meet in Serie A with the Rossoneri ahead of the Bianconeri in the table for the first time since November 2015 – however, Juventus won that encounter 1-0, courtesy of a goal scored by Paulo Dybala.
- AC Milan have scored 2+ goals in each of their last 17 Serie A games, in the history of the top five European leagues only three sides have had a longer such run: Bayern Munich (20 in 2014), Barcelona (18 in 2013 and 2006, and 19 in 1948) and Manchester United (22 in 1959).
- Having won 4-0 at the Stadio Ennio Tardini against Parma, Juventus will be aiming to keep consecutive away clean sheets in Serie A for the first time since September 2019, the first two away matches under Maurizio Sarri.
- Against Benevento, Rafael Leão became the second-youngest foreign player to score 10 goals for AC Milan in Serie A (21 years and 207 days), after Alexandre Pato (19 years and 19 days) – the Portuguese has been involved in seven goals in 11 appearances in Serie A this campaign (four goals and three assists), as many goal involvements as he managed in 31 appearances last season.
- Paulo Dybala has scored seven goals in 11 Serie A games against AC Milan, despite failing to score at the San Siro against the Rossoneri with Juventus.
I don’t think it will be easy for either side, which makes this clash a very interesting one and subsequently hard to predict. Although Milan are ahead in the standings, the feeling is that it would be a bigger achievement for them to win tomorrow. Despite the injuries, it’s certainly possible, but it will be a tough encounter.
Pirlo’s men will be eager to prove themselves but at the same time, the Rossoneri have a more concrete style of play and this could benefit them a lot tomorrow. Perhaps Pioli’s men won’t claim the three points, but I’m not so sure they will lose either. It could, therefore, be a rare draw for this fixture.
AC Milan 1-1 Juventus
How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play fantasyseriea.com now!